I have worked in the Covent Garden property market for the past 18 years witnessing many changes but, throughout, the area has retained its unique atmosphere and eclectic appeal.
Friends often ask me: “Do people actually live within Covent Garden?” Anyone who truly knows the area is well aware of the thriving and fantastically diverse local community of pied-à-terre owners, theatre lovers and young people.
Today I meet the owner of a refurbished flat in Drury Lane who bought through our office some months earlier, and now he wants to rent the flat out. The building is a former tobacco warehouse and was one of the first old commercial spaces in the area to be converted into exciting, new West End homes. I have the ideal tenant in mind; a leading ballerina soon to be performing at The Royal Opera House, which is only a short stroll away.
This morning I am off to a sales valuation in Tavistock Street. Although I manage the Hudsons lettings and property management department, I come from a background in property sales, which is especially useful when our existing Covent Garden landlords are considering selling.
This property has the distinction of once being the home and workplace of Charles Dickens, who used locations throughout Covent Garden as inspiration for many novels.
Such is the diverse nature of property in the area that providing accurate advice requires an intimate and thorough knowledge.
As I head back to the office, I stop off at the Monmouth Coffee Shop in Monmouth Street. The delicious aroma makes it hard to resist.
The ballerina has agreed to rent the Drury Lane flat, so we have a very happy landlord and tenant. I am now off to show a Singaporean couple around a flat we have for sale in Shorts Gardens. This flat was once council-owned. A previous tenant exercised their right to buy and now the current owner is looking to sell to fund a move out of London to the West Country.
This property does have the rather unusual feature of overlooking the outdoor swimming pool of the neighbouring Oasis Sports Centre.
These buyers are looking for a property for their daughter. She is studying at the London School of Economics nearby and would rather buy than pay rent for the three years of her studies. I mention that I will go to any “lengths” to find them the perfect property, but with my weak attempt at humour politely ignored, we are off to the next property. It is in a portered block on Newton Street, where there is a resident porter in the building that offers the added security the parents are looking for, which I hope will help clinch the deal.
Today I am writing my monthly market comment for a local magazine and exploring the positive implications of the forthcoming Crossrail station and proposed traffic rerouting and improvements at Tottenham Court Road. It’s a very exciting time for the surrounding area, with the iconic Centre Point tower to be transformed into luxury homes that offer enviable views across the London skyline.
The planned redevelopment of Denmark Street, also known as Tin Pan Alley, where the Rolling Stones recorded some of their albums, has provoked protests.
It becomes a popular topic of conversation at the networking meeting that night at the Phoenix Artist Club.
Events like these give me a chance to meet other local business people and residents, with the hosts providing a live cabaret performance to entertain their guests.
Almost always the busiest day of the week, today is no different, with everyone in our team having full diaries and deals to finalise. I have a morning meeting with a new landlord in Wellington Street, who instructs us to market their beautiful two-bedroom flat within a lovely Georgian terrace.
These flats are highly sought-after by corporate tenants and we have plenty of people looking to pay a premium rent for such a beautiful property.
I visit the building manager of a neighbouring development where we recently sold the home of one of BBC’s Dragons from the Dragons’ Den programme.
I am invited to lunch by the owner of On The Bab in Wellington Street, a new restaurant serving traditional Korean drinks and dishes. It’s delicious.
- Robert Burwood is manager of lettings and Covent Garden at Hudsons (020 7631 8700).